The hero folk tale was supposed to begin at the end of Game 5 in the first-round playoff series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers.
After falling behind three games to none, Pittsburgh had rallied to win Game 4 by a final of 10-3, and held on to squeak out a 3-2 victory in Game 5. Philadelphia was losing all the momentum it had built, and Flyers star Claude Giroux showed his frustration, smashing his stick over the goal posts at the final horn.
Giroux stewed and stewed, then went to Flyers coach Peter Laviolette with a request. Start him. It didn't matter who it was against, or who it was with, Giroux wanted to be on the ice for the opening faceoff of Game 6.
He was, and five seconds from the opening drop, he leveled all-world center Sidney Crosby before zipping a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury 27 seconds later for the first goal of the game. That score sparked a 5-1 win for the Flyers, and catapulted Giroux's team into the second round past the team considered ...